Jan 16, 2012

The New World: Arkhesh in 1514

"Say, that looks familiar"
Let me clear up some terminological confusion about Emern that may be going around, which is probably my own fault through improper explanations.

"Emern" is the name of the campaign world, but also of the Europe-analogue continent. This is pretty intentionally Eurocentric, and is intended to convey in a subtle way the hubris and imperialism that drives the overall action in the setting. It's inhabited by humans and dwarves split into several kingdoms, republics, etc. The Larnish Kingdoms is your Great Britain analogue, and is totally irrelevant except as a place to be from. The Kingdom of Renna is Spain, and is the patron and suzerain of all Arkhesh (or at least the parts that it can enforce). The Free Cities are Italy, with Ilos as Rome, Zamora as Venice, Lashkiva as Florence, etc. The Kingdom of Gyorsh is Austria-Hungary with Gyorshmen living up into Germany. The Heldul are France. Only Renna and Zamora are really important over in Arkhesh at the moment, which is why everything is named in doggerel Spanish.

"Tash" is the Africa-analogue continent. It has a big, civilised, monotheistic empire run by elves and dwarves with everyone else on the bottom. The empire is called "Tash" and the continent takes its name from it. It's where slaves come from, and yes, the slaves are black humans (and black halflings) who the Tash enslave and sell to the Emerns.

"Arkhesh" is the Americas. It was discovered by a guy named "Hesh" about twenty years before the campaign is set, and he is still governor of the King of Renna's possessions in Arkhesh. He lives in Heshtown, and yes, he named both the city and the continent (Arkhesh is widely understood to be a single large continent by contemporaries) after himself. The equivalent of "Common" linguistically in the area is Rennish (all the PCs start knowing it in addition to whatever other languages they speak), though this will not help you in talking to the natives, who speak Ikani and Xorca.

There are four cities known in the New World, though "cities" is a bit grandiose for two of them.

Heshtown is the Santo Domingo of its world, a horrible, vicious place filled with mercenaries, killers, lunatics, people who have fled across six thousand kilometres of ocean for a reason, and so on. It's got a working population of about 7,000 counting slaves, with rings of plantations stretching out across the island.

This city has a place called "Knife Alley" because someone is stabbed there every night.
New Kalar is Miami if the Puritans had built it. It's the Tash settlement, and is a great place for pirates. I always think of the Tash as a blend of early-modern Arabic culture and early modern English protestantism. It's also an economic dynamo, but it's totally unfriendly to non-goblin, non-elves who come to visit. It's also filled with heretics and religious agitators who got kicked out of Tash. Population's around 3,500, no slaves.

Chovango is basically a giant plantation with a slave market, shipyard and fortress attached to it. It used to be Don Gilkano's private domain until the PCs killed him during a visit to Heshtown. It's a pretty horrible place. Population 4,000 counting slaves (1,000 otherwise).

Xapoltecan is the City of the Blue Faced God, and was the site of the first adventure. It's believed to be the western-most city of the Ikani Empire, which everyone is trying to find. It turned out to be full of undead guys instead. More on it some other time. In the mean time, enjoy this map.

"I used to have a girlfriend, then I discovered maps."
If you scroll all the way back up to the first map, you'll see there's a place called Jama^^^Isla de Naufragio. Right now, the PCs have been promised title to it if they can sort out a situation for Governor Hesh. As a result, the PCs have started calling themselves "The Jamaican Knights", though currently they're in the middle of a volcano being pursued by cybernetic leechmen, so we'll see who actually survives to claim Jamaica.